Just before India was about to face the consequences of the deadly virus, which the world was already witnessing, I ringed in my 26th.. Every year on this day I make it a point to celebrate it with my family on some different location than the usual.
So this is the story of my last trip, just a month and a half, before the Lockdown was officially announced.
We have heard of a number of forts turned into resorts. This is the only such heritage resort of Maharashtra - The Jadhavgadh Fort. It's located some 30kms outskirts of Pune on the Saswad road, the village being called as Jadhavwadi, hence the fort name.
History Related to the Fort
Let's start with understanding the history behind the fort.
This fort belonged to a Maratha General in the army of Chatrapati Shahuji ( grandson of the great Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj), named, Pilaji Jadhavrao. It was created in the year 1710 as a residential area and as well as safe haven when being attacked by the enemies. It has been adorned with a few characteristics of the Maratha Architecture, which can be still seen.
And as during the ancient period, any guests coming to the fort were welcomed with a drum roll and a instrument known as Sringa (सृंगा) [also known as Tutari (तुतारी)], the same style is still used to welcome any guest coming to the resort.
For a stay, at any resort or a hotel, to be memorable is the hospitality that is offered by the staff. And it matters the most when we are confined at the location for the entire duration of the Stay. And for us also the stay was as comfortable and as memorable as we had imagined it to be.
We were welcomed by a small note and chocolates lying on our bed.
Things to do Around the Fort
This 300 years old fort was renovated and converted into a luxurious heritage resort in the year of 2007. While visiting a fort as huge as this one ,which is widespread on a 25 acre land, we always tend to miss some or the other points as we lack knowledge about the place. However, with this fort that will not be the problem as the management itself has arranged for a tour. To be precise an Audio Tour.
Now what is an audio tour? This was the question that we also had when we heard it for the first time.
So it is basically a self guided tour where the management gives you a device (audio guide ) and a chart with it as it is displayed in the pic. With the device, headphones are also provided. And there are number of locations in the fort where you will find a plate with a number on it. When you press the same num as mentioned on the plate at a certain location, on the audio guide you will be hearing the history of that particular place of the fort. And as a treasure hunt you just need to follow each and every step one by one to have the best experience of the same. You can opt the language of the audio as Hindi or English.
This audio tour covers the entire fort cum resort and the best part about it is, you can move around according to your own pace and understand the history thoroughly by yourself without having any external interference. This audio tour also took us to a Ganesha Temple which is known to be as old as the fort i.e. 300 years old.
The second major attraction of the fort being the AAI (आई) Museum. AAI means mother in Marathi. So as the name suggests it is a collection of daily household items that were used in the ancient times. The only part of the fort where photography is prohibited is this museum.
The best part of this fort is you need not to book a stay in the resort to experience the royalties of the fort. You can book a day tour which will cost you around ₹2200 per person on weekends and ₹1800 per person on weekdays. And that's not all, this figure is inclusive of the audio tour, breakfast and lunch. And with this there are some other activities also included such as pottery making, archery, etc.
P.S : The steps being the same old one giving the feeling of climbing a real fort, carry a pair of sports shoes so that it will be easier to roam around freely.
And for the guests who are planning to stay overnight at the resort the check-in time for the resort is 2pm and the check-out time is 10am the next day. So to utilise your time thoroughly at the fort, please reach there atleast half n hour before the scheduled time.
There are 2-3 restaurants which serve different types of cuisines. The best one being the CHAJJA restaurant. CHAJJA means terrace in Hindi. This restaurant gives you a full view of the village which was quiet important for the warriors during the times of war.
With all the above amenities, there are various activities planned for the guests and the management keeps informing you about those activities time to time according to your comfort zone. So one such activity was suggested to us by one of the attenders was trekking the next day early morning around 6am. And we opted for it immediately. While trekking there is a guide who is assigned with each family.
P.S.: The other activities are also included in the package whether you opt for it or not.
How to Get There
By Air - The nearest airport being the Pune Airport which is at a distance of 30kms away from the Fort. From the Airport you can book a taxi straight up till the resort
The second nearest airport is The Mumbai Airport which is around 180kms away from the destination.
By Rail - The nearest Railway station again being the Pune station which is at a distance of approximately 26kms. From the railway station we can book a cab as well travel by the local city bus up till Saswad village.
However travelling by bus will take around 2 hours whereas hiring a private taxi will drop you at the fort in less than an hour.
By Road - Travelling by road from Pune will take a maximum of 1.5 hours
Whereas travelling distance from Mumbai to the location is around 4 hours by road.
The cost of one night stay at the resort depends upon the room that you choose. I chose a Bajirao Suite which costed around Rs. 10000 for one night with buffet breakfast and the activities included.
You can book the stay from their official website. Sharing the URL for the same
Best Time to Visit
Best time to visit any fort is during the winters, when the climate is not hot during the day to enjoy the activities. So October to February would be the best time to visit the property.
Adding some pictures from my stay at the resort..
Staying in the luxury of nature for 24hrs with a break from our daily routine is a peace we all want and should take time from our busy schedules to rejuvenate our minds and body in the lap of nature.
And this was my first tour of this year (2020) and the last untill the situation is normalised.